Christmas shopping: resistance mom edition
November 9, 2021 11:40 AM   Subscribe

Looking for a good non-fiction political book (or two) to gift my mom! Details within.

My mom is in her 70s and is always looking for a good book to read. She is also kind of difficult to shop for! She used to mostly read novels, almost exclusively mysteries, but these days seems to prefer non-fiction books with a political angle.

My big example to go from here is Bob Woodward's last two books about the Trump administration. She passionately despises Donald Trump and seems to have a bottomless appetite for reveling in this hatred. Fair enough! What are some other recent books that might scratch this itch? She's read "All the President's Men," I'm definitely more looking for things covering the last administration.
posted by cakelite to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Someone recommended this to me today and I wonder if it would work for your mother - When America Stopped Being Great: A History of the Present, Nick Bryant.
posted by paduasoy at 12:11 PM on November 9, 2021

Michael Lewis' "The Premonition: A Pandemic Story " about, well, the pandemic and "Fifth Risk" about the Trump administrations transition (or lack of) taking over the Federal government responsibilities of which there are more than one would think.

Malcolm Gladwell's "Talking to Strangers" veers more psychology than directly political (though it is, it is) is good if you like Malcolm. The audio book is particularly good as read by Malcolm and enhanced with various audio, podcast-style.

Jessica Bruder's "Nomadland" though I have not finished it and find it a little depressing. Anecdotally, I've heard the movie is not quite the same impact/themes as the book.
posted by RoadScholar at 12:49 PM on November 9, 2021

Anything from, which is having a 40% off sale right now.
posted by equipoise at 1:03 PM on November 9, 2021 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Has she read the two books by Carol Leonnig and Phillip Rucker? (A Very Stable Genius and I Alone Can Fix It, for more Trump agony)? There’s also that chatty Nancy Pelosi biography by Molly Ball. Sorry it my suggestions are a little out of date!
posted by pepper bird at 1:09 PM on November 9, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Slightly off the wall based on her liking mysteries, but The Fall of the House of Zeus? A true story of Mississippi good ol' boy corruption and political intrigue that reads like a John Grisham novel.
posted by momus_window at 4:14 PM on November 9, 2021

Best answer: The book isn't out just yet, but she might be interested in Jonathan Karl's new book. (I haven't read it, or his previous book on Trump, but I did just skim an excerpt published by The Atlantic.)
posted by sportbucket at 9:21 PM on November 9, 2021

Something that overlaps with the Trump dislike but also opens to other related topics or expands her interests may be a good choice? I can see the connection between your mom’s current reading interest and her previous interest in mysteries, so nonfiction on related topics that she might enjoy would perhaps be books that unravel a story that has been hidden, where an injustice or more personal crime has occurred? (There may also be a connection in having a clear villain - eg. unlike most nonfiction, Trump is almost a caricature rather than a complex real person?)
posted by eviemath at 4:23 AM on November 10, 2021

For a more positive direction, I recommend All We Can Save by Ayana Johnson and Katherine Wilkinson.

"All We Can Save is a bestselling anthology of writings by 60 women at the forefront of the climate movement who are harnessing truth, courage, and solutions to lead humanity forward."
posted by hydropsyche at 5:51 AM on November 10, 2021

"Save It for Later" by Nate Powell - great cultural observations about the rise of fascism in the US and some good suggestions on how to cope.
posted by Mesaverdian at 1:36 PM on November 10, 2021

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